Context 151 - September 2017

26 C O N T E X T 1 5 1 : S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 7 Some railway heritage will continue to be lost, as Network Rail accepts that listed structures require extra care but it does not recognise non-designated assets. Under permitted development rights of the Great Western Railway Act, 1835, features can be demolished for freight and electrification gauge clear- ance. However, Filmer-Sankey firmly believes that with ‘care, thought, cooperation and understanding’ a modern railway can be designed to be compatible with its heritage. Rosamund Worrall Morning discussion Following the morning’s presentations, there was an opportunity for discussion and questions. Bob Kindred noted that the absence of politicians from proceedings was the elephant in the room, and invited the thoughts of the speakers on this. Nigel Crowe felt that the movement of the Canal and Rivers Trust into the third sector had reduced politicians’ involvement in this sphere. Peter de Figueiredo mused on the dif- ficulties for local politicians in the face of unrealistic demands from Unesco (such as a moratorium on major planning decisions). John Preston asked Crowe in particular if there was an anticipated impact of the private-rental-sector regulations (which give landlords the responsibility for achieving energy performance standards for existing stock), but Crowe advised that the CRT now owned only 250 dwellings. Turning to the railways in particular, Alison Davidson (Axford Heritage Planning) noted from the floor that many bridges were being altered for larger containers, and that this was affecting much unlisted heritage. KatieWray (Deloitte) asked if there was increasing pragmatism on moving structures. William Filmer-Sankey noted the track record that the Railway Heritage Trust had in this. Catherine Dewar said that whether the location was a strong element of the significance would always be a consid- eration, but there were plenty of examples, including for other building types (such as statues), where relocation could be achieved. Crispin Edwards (Historic England) asked whether the panel felt that the 2013 changes to the Listed Buildings Act give sufficient flexibility to meet these challenges. Nigel Crowe felt that this is the case, and said that the CRT was encouraging Network Rail to establish a national listed building consent order for repetitive works. Crispin Edwards Developing road and pedestrian infrastructure Speaker: Richard Brook After lunch and a chance to enjoy the sponsors’ stands (and the very impressive display by the Victorian Society), Richard Brook took the baton.When I moved to Manchester, I was fascinated by the fragmentary signs, along the Oxford Road corridor, of bridges and walkways above the street. Sadly, these are now almost all gone, and Brook suggested that it was too late to start reassessing the value of what had been lost.These, how- ever, were the remains of an idea within the education precinct plan.The brainchild of LewisWomersley (Park Hill, Sheffield) and HughWilson (Cumbernauld), who later developed Hulme Crescent and the Arndale, the plan called for dualled cross streets (the ‘Kingdom of the car’), with most pedestrian movements at high level.This was inspired by ‘Buchananism’, based on the 1963 report Traffic in Towns , led by Professor Sir Colin Buchanan. Manchester’s nascent planning department identified areas for comprehensive redevelopment – interestingly, almost completely discrete from those damaged by wartime bombs – and the education precinct was one such. Sadly, the mitigation against an unpleasant environ- ment was not funded by developer-led schemes inter- spersed among the university buildings, and confusion over public space within buildings led to underuse. As the concept was discredited, the abutments of uncom- pleted bridges, and walkways that led to nowhere, were fossilised in the streetscape. However, beginning with the enormous ramp from street level at the now-demolished Maths Tower, and followed by the Richard Brook: Buchanan’s monster has been banished. Nigel Crowe,William Filmer-Sankey, Simon Bradley, Catherine Dewar and (right) Peter de Figueiredo field questions from the audience